Kmart called out for 'cruel' fish tank: ‘Animals are not toys'

Kmart's aquarium is only 3 litres, well short of the 15-litre minimum recommended by the RSCPA for betta fish.

Kmart has been told it "needs to do better" after releasing a "small fish aquarium" with just a 3-litre capacity, stating it is "suitable for betta fish" despite being below size guidelines and missing required filtration and heating gear.

"I was appalled to see this brand new item in their pet section," a horrified Aussie content creator shared online. "Living animals are not toys, they don't go into tanks that don't even meet the bare minimum size requirements — tanks that don't even have a filtration system or a heater."

RSPCA's Knowledgebase states tanks for housing betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, should be "at least 15 litres in volume", with an "optimal size of 20 litres or greater" — 12 to 17 litres more than what the Kmart "aquarium" offers.

Screenshots from the TikTok video showing Kmart's 'small fish aquarium' box and a close up of a betta fish.
The tank size does not come close to RSPCA's size guidelines for betta fish tanks. Source: TikTok

The $15 "aquarium" is USB-powered and features a "colour-changing" LED light. "So if the small tank size wasn't bad enough you can turn your aquarium into a strobing night light toy," the content creator, who goes by Moth online, states sarcastically. "In what world is this okay?"

He goes on to share that Kmart does sell appropriate fish tanks in larger sizes that can fit a filtration system and heater.

Aussies scathing of 'awful' Kmart product

After sharing the find online, many were shocked by the size and features of the product. "Kmart needs to do better. This is awful. Reminds me of people putting Betta fish in flower vases as living decorations. Gross," one said.

"I'm going into Kmart with signs to put next to these saying animal cruely," another wrote.

Some questioned the video saying they have always seen small containers for betta fish in pet shops, but Moth explained those tanks are either just as bad, or worse, than the ones at Kmart, or are only used for short-term stays and have huge filtration systems running in the background.

How to safely care for a betta fish

RSPCA says small tanks or fish bowls do not provide adequate space or a healthy environment for bettas who are known to be "intelligent and curious". "Small bowls do not meet the fish’s behavioural or physiological needs," they share online.

In the Aquarium Factory's beginners guide for betta fish they state one of the most "prevalent myths" is that fighting fish originate from and prefer to live in small puddles of water. "This is a lie and has allowed many unethical pet stores to get away with selling betta fish in the tiny, cup-like tanks we all know too well," they say.

Not only does the tank need to be over 15 litres, but an appropriate-sized filter for the tank with an adjustable flow is crucial, as well as proper heating to mimic their natural tropical climate.

Betta fish originate from "densely vegetated areas" and tend to prefer a tank with several plants, real or artificial, and/or other forms of cover in which to explore, rest and hide if they feel threatened.

For more information on how to care for a betta fish, click here.

Yahoo News Australia has reached out to Kmart for comment.

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